Gamer: Video Games Don’t Get No Respect Once Again
Last week, when I reported that Turbine was allowing people to play Dungeons and Dragons Online for free, I only briefly mentioned the negative press that Role-Playing Games received in the early eighties and late nineties.
As a kid who used to play D&D and other role playing games, I heard stories of people who committed suicide when their Player Characters had died, and I didn’t really give it much thought. However, when many Christian groups began to equate the game as some portal into Satanism, I often wondered if they were talking about the same Dungeons and Dragons game.
I remember reading one Christian pamphlet that was supposed to be an expose on RPGs, but some of the information in it was just plain wrong. I mean, it said that the He-man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon was inspired by Dungeons and Dragons. I’m sure there are a lot of geeks out there now who are thinking: oh come on! Do your research.
I’m sure the person who wrote that pamphlet just didn’t get their facts straight. There was a Dungeons and Dragons cartoon that ran for about two seasons. They probably just heard that there was a Dungeons and Dragons cartoon, and just simply assumed that the He-man cartoon was it. It’s an honest mistake, but it shows how much conservative groups never actually researched, much less played the RPGs that they criticized.
There must have been some sort of anti-D&D bandwagon that was happening, and those who never played the game were creating a boycott for those who played the game. In the same manner, gamers who heard the argument against RPGs could not accept the facts as given any more than I did.
The alienation of RPG gaming eventually led to a very strong gamer counter-culture which is no doubt the target audience of most MMO and other RPG video games of today. Still, there seems to be a strong pervasive stereotype that says that gamers are guys who still live in their mother’s basements, and are completely incapable of living in any reality that is real.
For this reason, gaming continues to have a negative slant in today’s media. There is yet to be a movie based on a video game that has been a huge success, and most video games portrayed in movies tend to be negative. That is, you always see the geek characters playing them while the cooler characters apparently have better things to do.
Another negative portrayal is due out this Fall that is simply called Gamer. It takes place in a future world where gamers can somehow play other people, like puppets, apparently. Their puppets are actual prisoners put in violent scenarios, and the public just sits back and watches. Think of it a better version of The Running Man, but it has Gerard Butler instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Yes, Gamer confirms all of our fears about video games taking over the world, turning into a hellish place. Once again, the video game industry gets another bad spotlight since The Ultimate Gamer. Could someone make a film that put video games in a positive light? Something that isn’t like The Wizard, which was some huge ad for Nintendo. You know, video games do inspire people once in a while. Every thought about doing a film about that, Hollywood?